skEdit is the web developers text editor. While not nearly as feature packed as some other text editors in the Mac software market, I’ve been using it for two weeks and in that time it has easily saved me three months worth of work.
skEdit includes all of the main features I’ve come to expect in a Mac text editor: syntax highlighting, auto-complete code, and a powerful find and replace function. It also allows you to open a folder as a “site”, which sits on the right hand side of the screen, and a tabbed interface to keep multiple files open at once. And, I’ve found that I have a bad habit of opening up a lot of tabs! The find and replace function, which allows both plain text and regular expression search, is what has saved me the most time. Lately, I’ve found the need to both add and delete 15 or so lines of code from around 120 html files, which skEdit made short work of in a few seconds.
When opening a new text file, skEdit asks you some basic information pertaining to any new HTML document: Doctype, Language, Encoding, Title, and Base. It also allows you to enter any META tags you may want in the document right away.
Remote editing via SFTP, FTP, or Webdav is built in to skEdit, allowing you to edit remote files via any one of these protocols as if they were local. Editing remotely opens up a log to the right, letting you keep an eye on the status of your connection and the command issued by skEdit to complete any given action. Another great feature is the “Insert” menu item, which has a list of special characters easily available. This is a feature I’ve been wanting for a while, as I can never remember the key combo to get a copyright symbol, or the greek alphabet, whenever I happen to need that.
Another great feature is tight integration with the open source Tidy tool, which can easily clean up messy code. Tidy is accessed either by the HTML menu item, or the built in Tidy Panel, and can run on a single file or an entire site. This is great for cleaning up code generated by poor (Cough.. Microsoft… Cough, Cough..) WYSIWYG web tools, and can make removing unnecessary tags a breeze.
skEdit’s Snippets menu item allows you to store sections of code that are used frequently so they are quickly available. You can assign keyboard shortcuts to snippets, or have the snippets inserted into the text when a certain keyword is entered. Extremely useful.
I’ve had a good time with skEdit, but it still has a while to go before it is on the same playing field as TextMate. On the other hand, its also half the price at $25, and that includes lifetime upgrades. On a scale of one to five, with one being Apple’s own TextEdit, and five being TextMate, skedit falls at a solid four stars.